AMAARA’s striking debut LP Child of Venus is a bold and unforgettable introduction to Kaelen Ohm’s music. The Canadian-born singer, songwriter, and producer’s third collection of songs is reminiscent of classic-era dream-pop as well as Radiohead’s most spectral and haunting moments—and yet the resulting sound is entirely her own, teeming with detail in a way that draws listeners in and keeps them coming back. A reflective work that zooms in on the things we hold close and what manages to escape our grasp, Child of Venus is a record that leaves a mark on anyone who hears it, in the best way possible.

Child of Venus is the culmination of a lifetime of artistic pursuits for Ohm, who moved to Calgary after attending film school and immersed herself in the city’s music scene, making music videos and gigging around town with various bands. She found inspiration in the music of groups like Beach Fossils and Warpaint, and it was the latter’s single “Elephant” that Ohm taught herself on guitar and subsequently expanded her own mind as to what her music could be. “I realized that this was the path I needed to take,” she recalls. “With all the music I listened to growing up, making music just felt intuitive to me. Whatever came to me, I let it flow, and it ended up becoming a really positive outlet.”

AMAARA’s genesis as a project took place after she wrote the lushly overcast “Black Moon” in 2014, inspired by the news of legendary actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. “It was a project I wanted to put all my effort into when I had time off tours, and it became a place for me to explore all of my passions,” Ohm explains, and her excellent 2020 EP Heartspeak provided an additional glimpse into the sonic world she’s capable of building when hunkering down in the studio.

Work on Child of Venus began when Ohm—who also maintains an active career in acting alongside her music—was finishing filming a TV series in Israel and was bit by the creative bug: “I felt like it was time for me to make music again.” She flew back to Calgary and decamped to the studio, where she wrote, produced, and recorded the album’s nine songs in the moment. “I’m not someone who stockpiles songs or writes when I’m not making a record,” she explains. “When it’s time to make an album, go in and write everything as I go.” Even so, the creative process for Child of Venus found Ohm journeying deeper within her artistic spirit than ever before: “I found myself in a period of time where nothing was interrupting my schedule or creative process, and the songs just kept coming.”

As AMAARA, Ohm is reflecting on love and loss throughout Child of Venus, as well as the healing power of pure psychedelia and the act of connecting with her inner child—which has led her to reflect on her own adolescence at large. “I’ve been on a journey of looking into my own childhood conditioning, and the notion of unbounded creative genius as well as where that goes wrong in adolescence,” she explains. “It’s a reflective period marked by the question of who I was at the core of myself before I started to be shaped by my environment.”

Underneath the splashy drums and cool-handed guitars of “New Love’s Mortal Coil,” Ohm muses on what she refers to as “the impermanence of new stages of love, and how we sometimes get left in the dark with our emotions after the fire burns out.” With gorgeous instrumentation and a thicket of psychedelic haze, “Bright Lights” hits the road while ruminating about a long drive up to Big Sur that Ohm took in 2020. “I’d just been through a really frustrating situation in my life where the rug felt like it was pulled out from under me,” she recalls. “I found myself grappling with my role in letting it happen, and trying to let go of what I was still hanging onto.”

And then there’s the stunning “Still,” which swoops and bends like Treasure-era Cocteau Twins as Ohm immerses herself in what living through love really means. “It’s about looking at love as a journey,” she says while discussing the song. “At the other side of it, there can be so much reflection and beauty – and questioning where the other person is at in their process.” And Child of Venus as a whole is a document of rediscovery and transition, with Ohm coming up for air as an artist and human being truly reborn. “I wanted to share this emergence of me as a person and artist,” she reflects. I’ve been going through so much change, and this record speaks to the path that I’ve been on. I hope this music will find it’s place in the world and will be able to act as a companion in peoples’ lives if they connect with it.”




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